Without a doubt there are a number of days that most of us feel that way at one time or another! In fact, the further up the “food chain” you are, the more people undoubtedly want to tell you their problems! The thing is, and this may be difficult to swallow, the further up the “food chain” you are, the less right you have to utter this phrase! After all, promotions and advancement mean that you are responsible for showing sympathy, empathy, and for coming up with solutions for all of their problems!
One of the issues, of course, of having everyone bringing their problems to you is that it can interrupt your project and/or train of thought, causing immense consternation and frustration on your part! So, again depending how high up the “food chain” you are, you may need to develop a plan to meet both your needs and theirs! As a result, following are several “solutions” that will allow both you and them to maintain your sanity.
Determine if you truly are the first level of help that they can seek.
If you have an ‘Employee Flow Chart” in place, everyone’s first step should be to go to the individual immediately above them. If they can’t help them, then they should keep going up the ladder until, eventually, they may work their way to you.
Establish “Problem Sharing” Times
While it is obvious that, depending on your business and the types of problems that might arise, they can’t always be “put off,” there are many that can wait ‘til a designated time. For example, thirty minutes after you start work; thirty minutes after lunch; and thirty minutes before quitting time should allow ample opportunities for people to get the assistance they need to continue with their job, without constantly interrupting you while you are doing yours.
Schedule “Problem Solving” Training Classes
It goes back to the old adage, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.” You got where you are by being a problem solver, share your expertise on how to solve problems and you will be “less in demand” by others during the course of the workday.
Obviously, we are never going to have a problem-free day where our co-workers and staff don’t need to seek assistance/advice. However, by instituting the plan discussed above you should be able to make your day have more continuity and be less “broken up” by others!